ImPACT Applications, Inc. is a premier provider of computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services that are used by medical professionals to assist them in determining an athlete’s fitness to return to play after suffering a concussion. The ImPACT test provides an objective measurement of memory, reaction time, attention span, and other factors to help a clinician diagnose a concussion and decide when the patient has recovered.
ImPACT is a sophisticated, research-based computer test developed to help clinicians evaluate recovery following concussion. ImPACT is a 20-minute test battery that can be administered in the pre-season for a baseline and post-injury to track a concussion. The ImPACT approach to managing concussion has been found to be reliable, valid and extremely sensitive in determining when an athlete has recovered sufficiently from a concussion, thus insuring a safe return-to-play decision and reducing the chance of follow-up concussions.
The ImPACT baseline test is ideally administered under the supervision of a clinician, athletic trainer, coach, or even parent. The test involves puzzles and tasks to measure a variety of factors. The first test is taken before a concussion occurs and establishes baseline results. When a concussion is suspected, a clinician administers a follow-up test to see if the results have changed from the baseline to help diagnose and manage the concussion. Additional follow-up tests may be administered over several days or weeks to assist the clinician with the return to play decision.
For optimal utility, ImPACT should be administered prior to athletic competition. Typically this can be done at the beginning of preseason training or even a few months prior to season training. It is important to have the athlete complete ImPACT before they start any type of practicing that might induce a concussion (e.g., hitting drills, scrimmages, etc.).
Proper assessment of the injury and the determination of existing symptoms that may indicate incomplete recovery is critical to the safe management of an athlete suffering from a concussion. Imaging techniques such as CT scans or MRIs identify anatomic changes in the brain but are not helpful in measuring the effects of concussion, which are functional and not anatomic alterations in the brain.
A thorough medical examination is vital and use of neurocognitive tests such as ImPACT™ are incredibly useful in assessing brain function. With neurocognitive testing a physician has an objective tool to help determine concussion subtleties, thereby assisting with medical management and return to play decisions.
Athletes who are suspected to have sustained a concussion, even if it is considered to be mild, should seek immediate clinical care. ImPACT post-concussion follow-up evaluations can be conducted within 24 - 72 hours of injury (to help determine severity of injury) and subsequently as needed (e.g. days 5 and 10 post-injury). Please note that while these testing intervals are optimal, the athlete’s situation (e.g., other injuries requiring more immediate attention) may make it difficult to follow the testing protocol.
Post-Injury ImPACT testing CAN ONLY be done under the supervision of a neuropsychologist, physician, or athletic trainer. Please visit the ImPACT web site to find an affiliated ImPACT clinician in your area. If you are not located near an affiliated ImPACT clinician, please contact ImPACT for further assistance.
If you do not have an ImPACT clinician in your area and know of a clinician or physician interested in providing clinical concussion management with the ImPACT program, please contact ImPACT immediately. It is our hope that clinicians throughout the country will participate in this program so that local infrastructure and resources are in place for all of the US Lacrosse members.
Baseline Test Environment
ImPACT will operate using both desktop PCs and laptops or notebooks with a color monitor/screen. However, if using a laptop it must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Do not run the laptop off of the battery as this may cause a general failure of the software with some laptops. Also, an external mouse should always be utilized to help avoid variability in the some aspects of the data profile. ImPACT can be administered individually or as a group in a computer lab. The environment should be relatively free of noise and distractions. Administration is relatively self-explanatory. Baseline testing takes approximately 25 minutes. Post-concussion testing takes approximately 20 minutes.